Nov. 26, 2011
FREEPORT, Bahamas -
St. John's women's basketball showed that it was a team of come back kids as the Red Storm rallied back from a one-point halftime deficit to defeat Temple, 59-53, in the second day of the Junkanoo Jam Tournament in Freeport, Bahamas.
In the final two minutes of the first half, extending into the second period the Red Storm went on an 13-0 run, cutting the Owl's original 28-17 lead to two, 28-26. As the game wore on, St. John's kept the pressure on, to tie the game at 32-32 at 14:36 and take an eventual lead with 8:09 left. St. John's maintained the advantage for the rest of the game to record its first come-back win of the season.
Three players scored in double figures, led by juniors Eugeneia McPherson and Nadirah McKenith with 13 points each. The duo of guards also had four assists each. Rookie Amber Thompson had her first-ever double-digit scoring game as she went a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the foul line for 12 points.
Junior Shenneika Smith made her rebound total for the Junkanoo Jam Tournament 31 as she recorded a game-high 10 boards against the Owls.
St. John's (3-3) five starters accounted for 52 of the Red Storm's 59 points. Temple's (2-4) bench accounted for 20 of the Owl's 53.
It was a slow start for the Red Storm, as St. John's scored its first points with five free throws. Smith got St. John's first field goal of the game with a layup at 12:36 off her own offensive rebound.
By the eight-minute media time out, Temple had shot themselves to a 21-13 lead, led by 12 combined points from Victoria Macauly and Kristen McCarthy.
With the Owls leading 26-14, McKenith hit a three from corner of the arc to cut Temple's lead to single digits with less than three minutes left in the half.
Temple went back up 11, 28-17, but in the final two minutes, St. John's took charge and shifted the momentum in the Red Storm's favor to go on an 11-point run to end the hal.
With a minute and half left in the period, McPherson was fouled making a jumper under the basket and hit the extra basket to break the 20-point mark. On the subsequent inbound, McPherson stole the ball from Owl guard BJ Williams to give the Red Storm the extra possession. Going one-on-one with Temple's Shey Peddy, McPherson slowed it down and passed out from under the basket to Keylantra Langley who came up to help at the top of the key. Langley pulled it back for a jumper, cutting Temple's lead to six, 28-22, with a minute left in the period.
McKenith scored the Red Storm's eighth-straight point as she layed it in after a fastbreak, Her basket cut the Owls' lead to four, 28-24 with 41 seconds to go.
Coming out from the break, St. John's continued its scoring streak as Mary Nwachukwu hit a jumper from the left side off a pass from McKenith. The Red Storm cut the lead to two, 28-26 in the first possession of the half.
Peddy made two buckets for the Owls, putting Temple back up six, 32-26, but it was Nwachukwu again who put the Red Storm back on the board with a jumper from just inside the arc as two seconds were left on St. John's possession.
St. John's tied it up at 32-32 with 14:31 left as McPherson hit the bucket and one, but Temple went on a quick 6-2 run to go up 38-34. Nwachukwu was fouled in the paint as she went to the line and sunk both, bringing St. John's back within two, 38-36, but Temple broke away once again, 41-36 with 12:41 left in the game. McPherson hit a quick one under the basket before the 12-minute media time out, but it was Tesia Harris a minute later who would bring St. John's within one possession, 43-41, with a three from the top of the arc.
At 9:51, a resilient McPherson tied the game for the third time at 43-43, as she put back Smith's missed fastbreak layup, forcing Temple to take a time out.
After what felt like an eternity of a Temple possession, McKenith stole the ball from the Owls on their possession and came down the court to the basket. McKenith faced three Temple defenders who raced into the paint as she forced a layup up toward the basket. McKenith's shot missed but Harris picked it up and put it back up to give the Red Storm its first lead of the game, 45-43 with 8:11 remaining.
Temple tied it up with a quick layup from McCarthy, but St. John's took the lead back with an inside jumper by Thompson. Smith's fade away at 6:15 put the Red Storm up four, 49-45, with 6:15 remaining.
Temple came back with an inside jumper by Natasha Thames as the game once again was down to two points, 49-47, in St. John's favor.
Coming in off the final media time out, McKenith sunk both at the line to put St. John's back up four, 51-47. A minute later, Thompson hit a basket over two Owl defenders, giving the Red Storm a 53-47 lead with 2:31 to play.
Temple would not give up as the Owls cut it to two, 53-51, with two buckets at the foul line from Peddy with 1:13 left. After the free throws, Thompson extended the gap and put herself in double digits as she put one up to give the Red Storm a 55-51 with 56 seconds left to play.
Two more free throws by Temple's Williams once again brought the game down to one possession, 55-53, with less than 30 seconds left to play. Temple started the fouling game, but St. John's made 2-of-4 in the next two possessions to go up 57-53 with nine ticks on the clock.
In the final play of the game, Langley stole the ball from Macaulay. Thompson layed it in, off an assist from Smith to end the game with the Red Storm victorious.
For Temple, Peddy led with 16 points. McCarthy and Macaulay also had double figures with 11 and 10 respectively.
St. John's will spend Sunday and Monday in Freeport, practicing at the local YMCA in preparation for Wednesday's home contest vs. Howard Wednesday, Nov. 30. Tip off between the Red Storm and Bison is slated for 7 p.m. at Carnesecca Arena.